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I’m A Celebrity FIRST LOOK: Food critic Grace Dent reveals heartache after losing both her parents in the last five years – but insists the tragedy will make her ‘resilient’ in jungle


Food critic Grace Dent has revealed the family tragedy that will make her ‘strong and resilient’ in the I’m A Celebrity jungle.

The writer and Masterchef star, 50, will be joined in the Australian Jungle by celebrities including Britney Spears‘ younger sister Jamie Lynn and First Dates’ Fred Sirieix, when the show hits screens on Sunday.

Ahead of entering the jungle, Grace shed light on her personal life, as she revealed she has lost both her parents over the past ‘four or five years’ and confessed she believes her loss will make her stronger on the show. 

The star admitted she has ‘been through a really difficult time’ after she was a carer for her dementia-stricken father before he passed away while she later lost her mother to cancer within the short space of time. 

She said: ‘This is going to be a big challenge and now I am older, life is for living and it’s one of the reasons why I said yes.’

Speaking out: Food critic Grace Dent has revealed the family tragedy that will make her 'strong and resilient' in the I'm A Celebrity jungle

Speaking out: Food critic Grace Dent has revealed the family tragedy that will make her ‘strong and resilient’ in the I’m A Celebrity jungle

Daddy's girl: Ahead of entering the jungle, Grace shed light on her personal life, as she revealed she has lost both her parents over the past 'four or five years' and confessed she believes her loss will make her stronger on the show (pictured with her father)

Daddy’s girl: Ahead of entering the jungle, Grace shed light on her personal life, as she revealed she has lost both her parents over the past ‘four or five years’ and confessed she believes her loss will make her stronger on the show (pictured with her father) 

Stars of the show! : Fred Sirieix, Grace Dent, Danielle Harold, Marvin Humes, Josie Gibson, Jamie Lynn Spears, Sam Thompson, Nella Rose, Nigel Farage and Nick Pickard (L-R)

Stars of the show! : Fred Sirieix, Grace Dent, Danielle Harold, Marvin Humes, Josie Gibson, Jamie Lynn Spears, Sam Thompson, Nella Rose, Nigel Farage and Nick Pickard (L-R)

Grace has spoken publicly about her parents and in in 2020, she wrote in The Guardian about her father’s battle with dementia, penning: ‘There is so much I want to say to Dad, but I can’t bring myself to…

‘Dementia is really awkward, not just painful and frightening, embarrassing, I don’t like to be left alone with Dad. But sometimes I can see terror in his eyes…

‘Sometimes, as Dad talks nowadays, midway through a nonsensical sentence his brain catches up, and right then, he understands the total ridiculousness of what he is saying, and pure shame passes across his face.’

Grace, who was spotted arriving in Australia on Monday, has spoken about the prospect of eating while she languishes on the show. 

On the subject of the food in the jungle, Grace admitted even a professional like herself would struggle with a lack of herbs and spices to season food. 

She said: ‘Everything is filling me with a real sense of dread. But I am especially dreading being really hungry because I tend to eat four or five posh meals out a week because I am a restaurant critic.’

She confessed she knows what bosses will have in store: ‘I know they are going to give me an eating trial and I am dreading putting even worse things in my mouth than I have in the past in fancy restaurants!..

‘I think I will be writing very stiff columns about the jungle food when I come out! Will I cook there? Yes, I am a practical cook but it is not cooking as we know it in the jungle…

Oh no: Grace, who was spotted arriving in Australia on Monday, has spoken about the prospect of eating while she languishes on the show

Oh no: Grace, who was spotted arriving in Australia on Monday, has spoken about the prospect of eating while she languishes on the show

Sweet: Grace has previously spoken about the pain of losing her parents

Sweet: Grace has previously spoken about the pain of losing her parents 

‘What makes food is herbs and spices and I am not going to have any ingredients. I don’t know how you are going to make an alligator’s foot taste delicious if there are no spices…

‘I can already imagine the dinner I am going to have the moment I get out. I am going to go to a really fancy restaurant and have something delicious, wearing a lovely dress.’

On her main aim of entering the show, Grace went on: ‘I am just determined to not go out first. And if I can get quite far, I would be really pleased…

‘I don’t want my life to be different when I finish this programme. I don’t want to change anything at all but this is such a great challenge. It’s going to be fun.’

Grace was born in Carlisle and went on to pursue further education at Stirling University, bagging herself an English Literature degree in the process. 

During her time at university, Dent kicked off her journalism career, writing features for Cosmopolitan, according to The Sun

After leaving full-time education, she had quite the illustrious writing career, working as an editorial assistant for Vogue, and then a freelance journalist for various magazines such as Marie Claire, Glamour and more.

Starring role: Grace often appears on various TV shows critiquing people's plates - you may have seen appear in MasterChef: The Professionals, Celebrity MasterChef, MasterChef UK

Starring role: Grace often appears on various TV shows critiquing people’s plates – you may have seen appear in MasterChef: The Professionals, Celebrity MasterChef, MasterChef UK

She also spent 12 years, from 2000 until 2012 writing about all things TV, before making her way to The Independent.

For six years she wrote a restaurant column dubbed ‘Grace and Flavour’, for The Evening Standard.  The food critic is currently employed by The Guardian. 

Grace often appears on various TV shows critiquing people’s plates – you may have seen appear in MasterChef: The Professionals, Celebrity MasterChef, MasterChef UK.

She was also a judge on a BBC program called the Great British Menu. 

But you won’t only find Grace in the kitchen, she has also appeared on an array of shows including, The Apprentice: You’re Fired, The Now Show on Radio 4, Have I Got News For You, Very British Problems.

The food critic has also appeared on Pointless Celebrities, The Review Show Film 2012, Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe, The Culture Show and Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled.

Foodie Grace has also penned numerous novels over the years, and was even on the shortlist for the Queen of Teen prize in 2008. Amongst her books series’ for teenage audiences include Diary of a Snob, Diary of a Chav and LBD. 

She published her first non-fiction novel named How To Leave Twitter (My Time as Queen of the Universe and Why This Must Stop) in 2011.

Novelist: The columnist has also penned her very own novels and was even on the shortlist for the Queen of Teen prize in 2008

Novelist: The columnist has also penned her very own novels and was even on the shortlist for the Queen of Teen prize in 2008 

Accomplished:  The food critic has had an impressive career, working for an array of titles including, Vogue, The Independent, Cosmopolitan and more

Accomplished:  The food critic has had an impressive career, working for an array of titles including, Vogue, The Independent, Cosmopolitan and more

I’m A Celebrity 2023: Meet the campmates

NIGEL FARAGE

NIGEL FARAGE

Claim to fame: Former leader of the UK Independence Party  and leader of the Brexit Party.

Phobias: Nobody likes rats, snakes and I am dreading anything to do with heights.

Biggest misconception you want to dispel?: I have been demonised over the years and so it will be nice to show people I am not nasty. 

Role in camp: Lead on starting up plenty of campfire discussions. 

Aside from your family, what will you miss the most whilst in camp?: A pint in the pub and the news. 

Best & worst attributes: I hope to cheer people up when they are down. Worst? I am impatient and I do snore. 

Dream camper: As a controversial political media figure, I never name names… But I am looking forward to meeting interesting people from all different fields 

DANIELLE HAROLD

DANIELLE HAROLD

Claim to fame: EastEnders actress.

Phobias: Rats. I hate them! 

Biggest misconception you want to dispel in the jungle?: I can be a little ditzy at times but I am definitely not a ‘dumb blonde’. I want to show I can do the trials, challenges and get stuck in. 

Role in camp: Shoulder to cry on, help others if they are feeling low in camp. 

Aside from family, what will you miss most whilst in camp?: Snacking. I am a little muncher and I am going to miss my morning cup of tea, too! 

Best & worst attributes: I’d like to think I will be good if people are really struggling. I am not, however, very good at being bored, nor am I a morning person either. 

Dream camper: Ed Sheeran. If he brings his guitar into camp, he can sing for us.

FRED SIRIEIX

FRED SIRIEIX

Claim to fame: First Dates star.

Phobias: I am scared of everything. I am dying to find out how vile the food will be! 

Biggest misconception you want to dispel in the jungle?: I don’t think there is anything but I am looking forward to learning more about myself during my time in the camp. 

Role in camp: I will definitely muck in with all the jobs. I don’t mind cooking or cleaning the toilets. 

Aside from your family, what will you miss the most whilst in camp? My bed. It’s super comfy. I will also miss a cup of coffee in the morning. 

Best & worst attributes: I like to have fun but I do snore and I am impatient! 

Dream camper: It’s going to be nice to meet everyone but I’d love to see Dolly Parton, The Rock or Snoop Dog in there.

NELLA ROSE

NELLA ROSE

Claim to fame: YouTuber and Catfish UK star. 

Phobias: I am fearful of everything! 

Biggest misconception you want to dispel in the jungle? I am a pretty open book. 

Role in camp: Keep the morale and humour high.

 Aside from your family, what will you miss the most whilst in camp? My phone… I am always on it! 

Dream camper: Alison Hammond or Adele. 

NICK PICKARD

NICK PICKARD

Claim to fame: Hollyoaks star. 

Phobias: I am a bit scared of the dark. When you go to the House of Horrors at Halloween and things jump out at you, I am not very good when I can’t see! 

Biggest misconception you want to dispel in the jungle: It will be nice to go in as me and not as my Hollyoaks character. 

Role in camp: Grafter or chef, I am quite good at cooking. But I’ve never cooked on a fire before. Aside from family, what will you miss most whilst in camp: Football and my creature comforts. 

Best & worst attributes: I’d like to think I am a nice person and a good team player. I am not lazy but I do have a few bad habits like picking my nose. My girlfriend has been trying to train me to stop! 

Dream camper: Sir Alex Ferguson or Neil Warnock. 

JAMIE LYNN SPEARS

JAMIE LYNN SPEARS

Claim to fame: Zoey 101 and Sweet Magnolias star.

 Phobias: I am scared of everything.

Biggest misconception you want to dispel in the jungle?: I think this is a nice chance to show who I really am.

Role in camp: Hopefully I will be the one who can support everyone. 

Aside from family, what will you miss the most whilst in camp? A normal bathroom, air conditioning and my bed. 

Best & worst attributes: I think my best quality is it takes a lot to hurt my feelings; but I am impatient and my family would say I get in a bad mood a lot. 

Dream camper: Nicole Kidman, she is my favourite actress in the whole wide world, or Reece Witherspoon.

SAM THOMPSON

SAM THOMPSON

Claim to fame: Made In Chelsea star and radio presenter. 

Phobias: I am not a creepy crawly guy and I hate anyone or anything touching my neck. 

Biggest misconception you want to dispel in the jungle?: Since the age of 21, I’ve spent my whole life on TV and so I feel whether people have a good or bad opinion of me, it’s probably warranted!

Role in camp: I’m a ‘yes’ man so cooking, cleaning I will do whatever they want me to do. 

Aside from family, what will you miss most whilst in camp?: I know this sounds lame but gaming. 

Best & worst attributes: I’d like to think I am the court jester and I don’t take things too seriously, so if anyone is having a bad day I would like to put a smile on their face. Worst? I am quite forgetful and I am bad at focusing on things. 

Dream camper: Stephen Fry. I think I would self-combust if he was going in the jungle! 

JOSIE GIBSON

JOSIE GIBSON

Claim to fame: This Morning presenter.

Phobias: Insects and I freeze every time I see a spider and I am not sure what I am going to do if I am in a trial with them! 

Biggest misconception you want to dispel in the jungle?: I would like people to know I am very clever at knowing useless information! 

Role in camp: Mum. I am very motherly and I also love chatting to people. 

Aside from family, what will you miss most whilst in camp?: Getting up to blow dry my hair and putting a bit of make-up on! 

Best & worst attributes: I am an optimist and I love meeting people from all walks of life. Worst? I can be quite nosey and I am worried about my temper if I am too hungry. 

Dream camper: Dawn French, I love her. 

MARVIN HUMES

MARVIN HUMES

Claim to fame: JLS star.

Phobias: Heights. I have pulled out of a skydive with JLS in the past because I was too scared! 

Biggest misconception you want to dispel in the jungle: To show I am not just a member of a boy band. It will be nice for people to learn more about me. 

Role in camp: I’d like to think I will be a shoulder to cry on and a mediator. 

Aside from family, what will you miss most whilst in camp?: My fantasy football app! I am obsessed with it! Four weeks without music is a long time, too. 

Best & worst attributes: I’ve got three children under the age of ten and you definitely need a lot of patience for that! Worst? Rochelle would probably say I get ‘hangry’ if I don’t have enough food. 

Dream camper: Paddy McGuinness – I’ve done Soccer Aid with him before and I know he’s funny, he gets stuck in and he is hands on.

GRACE DENT

GRACE DENT

Claim to fame: MasterChef star and food critic. 

Phobias: Horrible people. 

Biggest misconception you want to dispel in the jungle: People think I am quite forthright and scary but I don’t think I am scary! Hopefully people will see this. 

Role in camp: Shoulder to cry on and I am a practical cook so I can help out. 

Aside from your family, what will you miss the most whilst in camp? My three cats and my make-up bag. I love a bit of glamour. 

Best & worst attributes: I would like to think I am funny! My worst quality is lack of sleep. I like my sleep. 

Dream camper: Queen Camilla. She would be very practical. And Madonna – she could perform tracks from her Greatest Hits tour! 

 

 



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